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Steeves: Fall is the time for love in the great outdoors

Blissfully unaware that he was about to bump into a raised wooden deck in my backyard, the magnificent buck kept raising his rack to sniff the air.

Not far in front of him was a mule deer doe, and wherever she went around the yard, he was hot on her heels.

For once, they weren’t feasting on my flowers. Apparently, they had other things in mind.

Birds may twitter about love in the spring, but for deer, the rut occurs in fall, when bucks begin to act totally out of their normally-cautious character and chase about after does, battling it out with other bucks for the right to a forest favourite.

I’m sure the doe was one of our regulars, but I’m not sure where the big buck had been lured from.

There’s a small neighbourhood buck who has lost most of one side of his antlers somehow or another, and he chased a doe around the yard last week, ripped up the grass in a scrape to mark his territory and even behaved quite aggressively toward us, lowering his head threateningly.

However, he is much smaller than this morning’s visitor and I think he was born right in the neighbourhood.

We have quite a herd of them, complete with fawns, who have now lost their spots, but are quite silly and fun to watch.

With the cold nights this week, the last of my brilliant orange maple leaves have now fallen from the branches and the beans have withered on the trellis. Sumac, both the orange and fiery red, are rapidly losing the last of their leaves, leaving a puddle of colour around the trunk.

It’s definitely fall, and last week’s drift of white is a reminder that winter isn’t far behind.

Incidentally, the Friends of Mission Creek Society invites everyone to their annual general meeting Thursday, Nov. 17, at 6:45 p.m., at the EECO in Mission Creek Regional Park on Springfield Road.

Guest speaker will be Ian Walker, from the Earth and Environmental Sciences Department at UBC Okanagan.

Walker will talk about the Okanagan Valley’s history, from the height of the last glaciation to the present day, including physical changes in lakes, valley and its climate.

He will begin by exploring the natural origin and development of the valley’s flora and fauna, both aquatic and terrestrial, over the past 15,000 years.

He will close with a discussion of recent human impacts on the valley environment, with a focus on lake and water quality.

Ian is really knowledgeable and this will be a fascinating evening.

Also, hunters and anglers: you have until Nov. 18 to comment on the provincial hunting and fishing regulations on the new “engagement website” set up by the province for public consultation on regulations. Go to: http://a100.gov.bc.ca/pub/ahte/.

Hikers should lace up their boots Saturday, Nov. 19 for one of the Central Okanagan Naturalists’ Club’s continuing series of free public events, this time exploring Rose Valley, Shannon Lake and Kalamoir Regional Parks in West Kelowna.

This one in the Discover Nature series will feature Emile Brokx leading a gentle hike around Goldies Pond, meeting at the parking lot on Westlake Road, adjacent to the pond, at 10 a.m.; followed by a short hike in to Rose Valley dam.

That will be followed by a picnic lunch at Shannon Lake or at a local coffee shop. In the afternoon the group will visit Kalamoir Park.

Dress suitably for the weather and bring your lunch and water, along with a toonie for insurance. No pets.

Judie Steeves writes about outdoors issues for the Capital News.

jsteeves@kelownacapnews.com

 

 

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